Syracuse University Magazine

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Jordan Robinson

A World of Service

While growing up in a small town in South Carolina, Jordan Robinson ’15, G’17 dreamed of traveling the world. Enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps was her passport to visiting more than 30 countries and serving as an embassy security officer in such far-flung places as Cuba, Austria, and Mozambique. Always up for a challenge, Robinson chose the Marines because of their reputation for being one of the most demanding branches of service. She found out just how demanding in boot camp, which she had expected to be about as grueling as a summer camp experience. “The physical requirements for Marines are the same for men and women,” she says. “It was by far the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.”

Military service was also her ticket to achieving another life goal—a college education. “The education benefit was one of the main reasons I joined the Marines,” says Robinson, a Newhouse graduate pursuing a master’s degree in public diplomacy, a joint program of the Newhouse and Maxwell schools. “After high school, I went to the University of South Carolina for two semesters, but decided to drop out because I didn’t want any more debt through loans. Through the GI Bill, I knew I could get a degree debt free.”

When deciding where to attend college, Robinson chose Syracuse University because of its veteran-friendly policies and reputation for academic excellence. “Syracuse has a long history of welcoming veterans, and since I wanted to study communications at the time, the Newhouse School’s television, radio, and film program was a good fit for me,” she says. “I’ve since realized that my true calling is to be a public diplomat and work with the State Department, promoting the interests and values of the United States.” Robinson’s world travels didn’t end with her military service. This summer, as part of her studies, she will journey to Australia for a 10-week internship in the public affairs office of the State Department.

Grateful for the opportunities she’s enjoyed thanks to her veteran status, Robinson works hard to help other former military access the same benefits. She is president of the University’s Student Veterans Organization (SVO), which strives to reach out to all enrolled veterans and assist them with whatever they need to succeed. “We also try to keep people engaged socially, with events like bowling, movies, and volunteer work,” says Robinson, who would like to see more veterans participate in the organization. “There are more than 190 veterans on campus, but we have only about 40 active members in the SVO. We have so many resources to offer, including counseling services and help transitioning from military to civilian life.”

In recognition of her military service and involvement with the student organization, Robinson was chosen to serve as master of ceremonies for the University’s Veterans Day Ceremony last November. “I felt honored as a woman to be in that role,” she says. “It was a proud moment for me.”     —Paula Meseroll

Photo by Susan Kahn